It’s been a week in travel. Wow.
Coronavirus has really got everyone’s attention. I’m spending 1/2 a day every day dealing with clients’ questions and concerns. So, I thought I’d share info with you now that I’m sharing with everyone who has called me about this this week.
Having been in the travel industry through SARS, Avian flu, H1N1, MERS, Ebola, Zika, Chikungunya, etc, etc; I know this too will pass. But, it makes for a tumultuous time right now.
As a former actuary (now travel advisor), I was taught to look at facts, not appearances. So, where there are impressions, look instead at facts. That training remains. You don’t want to trust impressions. You want to trust facts.
The quote guides, ” The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances, and demonstrations for impressions. ” John Ruskin
I acknowledge the concern with Coronavirus. I share CDC, WHO, and Canadian government links with my clients for the most up-to-date information.
The main thing for me, as your trusted travel advisor, is to ensure you have the most accurate info. It’s really difficult to step through the noise. As one UK news outlet reported: The most dangerous thing about Coronavirus is the hysteria .
I’m reminded of the Australia bushfires over the last months – and yes, while the areas impacted were severely hurt, and yes, we should donate to help their recovery efforts still; I remind clients that only 3-4% of Australia was even impacted by the bushfires. Getting that message out that 96% of Australia wasn’t even impacted by the fires, and none of the major tourist areas were damaged at all, has been challenging – especially in the face of horrific news coverage of the fires. But – Australia is open for business. And so is the rest of the world.
Remember the hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2017? Same idea. Areas devastated needed our help, and we donated and supported those affected. But, the 70%+ parts of the Caribbean who hadn’t even received a slight wind suffered greatly with their tourism dollars drying up. Getting the message out it was safe to travel to the un-impacted areas was challenging. And now, even those impacted terribly have recovered Anguilla Makes A Big Comeback
Of course, everyone has to make the decision that is right for them – but – when you consider what is right for you, please ensure you have the most up-to-date info from the scientists and government websites who are making recommendations about travel. Ensure you weigh that when you are making any decisions about travel.
While my travel partners have cancelled cruises and tours to mainland China right now, most other cruises and tours are operating as scheduled. Some flights that touch down in China and Hong Kong are cancelled or rerouted. But I have clients still going to Japan, Vietnam, Italy, and taking cruises.
While the cruise industry has definitely been hard hit, they are trying to put clients’ minds at ease. Everyone is taking precautions, of course – and right now, in this hyper-sensitive time, cruise passengers are being screened for recent travel, and more. Many of my cruise partners have created Coronavirus policies, and are stepping in with extending deposit protection plans for new bookings. Some folks, like AMA Waterways, have just offered the sale of their protection plan to clients already booked.
Italy is also getting hard hit. Continuing in that vein of sharing up-to-date info, here is a Press Release, from Feb.28.20 from the Italian National Tourist Board.
“Italy is a safe country, it is safe to live in Italy and it is safe to travel to Italy.
The Italian National Health System, among the most efficient in the world, immediately implemented procedures directed at safeguarding citizens and tourists. Intense controls made it possible for the Italian Government to monitor and contain the spreading of Covid-19 from the earliest diffusion outside the Chinese borders.
The adoption of extraordinary preventive actions, such as the temporary closure of several sites or the suspension of several events, represents cautionary measures which have nothing to do with the spreading of the virus throughout the Italian territory.
In accordance with the data provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to date only 0.05% of Italy is affected by extraordinary measures of temporary isolation of some Italian cities (equal to 0.1% of the total) aimed at avoiding the spread of the virus.
Only 12 out of 7904 Italian cities are affected by such measures:
• Lombardy: Bertonico, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerundo, Castiglione D’Adda, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, San Fiorano, Somaglia, Terranova dei Passerini
• Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo
The remainder of the country, including the Italian regions where the cities in temporary isolation are located, is safe and accessible. All services and activities for citizens and tourists are normally provided and the quality of life, for which Italy is famous world-wide, remains high.
For additional information, please consult the following links:
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – https://www.esteri.it/…/farnesina-al-lavoro-per-una-corrett…
• Ministry of Health – http://www.salute.gov.it
• National Institute of Health – https://www.iss.it
• EpiCentro, portal of epidemiology for public health – https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus
• World Health Organization – https://www.who.int “
Let me know if I can help ensure you have the most up-to-date info to aid your travel decisions.